More Clear WiMax Complaints

Just when I think Clear WiMax in Atlanta, GA couldn’t suck any harder, they implement a new draconian cap/bandwidth throttle and show they are the queen of horrible internet service.

Clear Wireless does NOT want you to use their service.  If you have a download running for over 15 minutes, your bandwidth instantly drops to 512kbps: i.e. your normally unstable 4-8Mbps WiMax connection will drop to a rock-solid .5Mbps.


It appears that Clear has resolved their issues with poor signal strength (now showing a CINR of 22db), but at 512kbps It will take me 2-3 days to download a Linux ISO…


I am assuming this is how Clear can support all of those 4G EVOs that were released into the wild a few months back.

This is the Clear 4G coverage map (from Clear’s web site) for Atlanta, GA:


Notice all of the white spots (I would include all of the light green as well) where there is no WiMax coverage?

From my understanding, WiMax is directional and line-of-site.  All of the WiMax antennas point South, creating a cone of WiMax coverage (note the triangle shaped patterns on the right side of the map).  You need to align your home WiMax modem so it’s antennas face north toward your closest tower.   If there are trees or buildings in the way, your coverage will be degraded.  If it is off axis by more than a few degrees, your throughput will suffer even more.  If it rains, your speed will drop to 1/2 of normal.  i.e., WiMax sucks!

I actually can see ‘see’ 11 towers on my modem- albeit only 4 of them are close enough to actually be usable:


In addition, as a WiMax market matures, the saturation of a single tower can quickly be exceeded if too many people try to access the Internet at the same time (kind of like the problem of being on a busy cable modem node).  In Atlanta, I believe Clear has greatly oversold their service as I can rarely achieve the speeds I was constantly getting at this time last year (usually only during 3am – 5am).

I did a test with my Clear USB stick last week; I plugged it in to my laptop and started a download log as I drove into work.  When I arrived at my office (9 miles away via the Interstate) I had experienced no less than 5 connection drops- most of them taking 30+ seconds to reconnect.  Not quite the 3G experience.

In short, Clear WiMax has very spotty coverage and they do not expect you to actually use your connection.  If you are planning on getting Clear WiMax to replace your existing DSL/Cable Internet- JUST DON’T!  Wait for AT&T U-Verse or upgrade your existing service to a faster connection (AT&T DSL goes up to 6Mbps, Comcast up to 12Mbps)- all at a comparable speed to Clear WiMax- and without the added headache of trying to align the modem just perfect to hit the right antenna (and the WiMax speed drop when it rains).

So when is LTE going to be rolling out?


  1. My experience is similar.

    I purchased a 4G+ mobile hotspot. I live in Carrollton, a northwest suburb of Dallas, TX. I signed up at Best Buy. No receipt either. When the unit arrived, it never connected at 4G at my home. The Clear sales person said I had good 4G access at my home. Wrong. I am in a "white" area of zero signal, and their support people confirmed that. Then to get the mobile capability of the unit, I drove around my town, and for a 30 minute trip, it only connected to 4G one time for 20 seconds. The rest was 3G. Some times it would say "connecting to 4G" for 5 minutes, and then go to 3G. The coverage maps show good 4G coverage for the main streets in Carrollton, but the hotspot never could connect.

    The unit arrived on a Friday. On Monday I called to cancel the contract and return the unit. Two weeks after they received the unit, I still have received the full refund. They refunded the hardware immediately, but they are talking about the prorated service I had for those 3 days, even though it never worked, regardless of the 14 trial period. Every time I call for service, the automated queue says more than expected call volume, and a 30 minute wait time.

    The coverage map for Carrollton is littered with "white spots" of no 4G service. Anyone traveling around Carrollton, form my experience, will only get reliable 3G service, but you will be charge for 4G.

    I'm still fighting with Clear to get a full refund. The refunded the hardware immediately when they received it. But it's been two weeks and they have kept $100, and are talking about pro-rated service fees. Of source it never worked, I had it for 4 days, and it was in the 14 day return period.

    It is a great idea. But my experience was that it never worked for me, the service wait times were really long, and their pretending to have given me 3 days of service and holding that back pro-rata is unreasonable.

    I specifically asked if there were speed caps or limits and I was told no. But from what I have read, that is also not true.

    I decided to purchase the Clear unit from Best Buy so if Clear did not honor their sales promises, maybe Best Buy will. I'll have to wait and see.

    What a disappointment.

  2. I would like to make a complaint. Clear is the worst. First the automatically deduct from someone elses credit card regardless if you only arrange to make a one time payment. The connection speeds are horribly slow. My first brandnew hotspot device(the newer model at that) completely went blank just because. Its like someone sent a signal to stop it from working i hadnt even had it for 4 months are you serious. So okay i agree to get another device mailed out for the processing fee cool until the send a refurbished device that was broken the piece where you plug the charger just fell in the device so now im responsible to pay another processing fee in i want to connect to the internet which of course you do hence what are you paying for? Clear is a getover please do your research DO NOT GET CLEAR, from experience they will be the ones getting YOU......